Madison, Wis – Wisconsin election officials were caught off guard when Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested a statewide recount of the presidential election.
“We were surprised,” County Clerk Scott McDonell said. “And that’s part of what put us on the pinch here is that we haven’t had as much time to prep…organize…schedule”
Stein and her campaign are concerned that the voting machines used in Wisconsin were hacked. So they gave the state three and a half million dollars to do the recount.
“The one blessing is since it’s paid I’m able to recruit people and pay them that’s helpful,” McDonell said.
McDonell now has 45 experienced election workers assisting him. They’re working 16 hours a day to recount the more than 300 thousand ballots that were cast in Dane County.
If they don’t finish by Tuesday it will be up to congress to decide who won the state of Wisconsin.
Despite the pressure Reid Magney the spokesperson for the Wisconsin Elections Commission sees this as an opportunity.
“This is our chance to shine. Election officials do all of this work to make sure everything comes out right. That we get accurate reflection of what the public’s will is. A recount is a chance to prove that what we did really worked,” Magney said.
Nancy Bryan from the Stein and Clinton campaign are happy with the way things are going.
“I’m very impressed with how well organized it seems to be. And how well the clerk and his assistants are managing the whole process. They’ve done a fine job of briefing everybody and keeping things focused and in control,” Nancy Bryan said.
And although election officials and campaign representatives are pleased with the progress of the recount. Some members of the general public don’t feel the recount employees are working hard enough.
“Sometimes it looks like the people are standing around and not always doing a lot and people want to make judgments about that,” Magney said. “But I think if you’re there and you understand what’s going on sometimes in any government operation there’s always a little bit of hurry up and wait.”
And that’s exactly what Mcdonell and the other county clerks will have to do. Hurry up and finish the recount by Tuesday then wait and see what happens with the recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania.